Reena Thomas, MD PhD


Clinical Associate Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences Clinical Associate Professor (By courtesy), Neurosurgery

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Dr. Reena Thomas, MD, PhD, is a Clinical Associate Professor in Neuro Oncology at Stanford Medicine leading a translational research team in immune-based therapy for cancer. Holding dual degrees in medicine and molecular immunology, Dr. Thomas has worked for more than two decades to integrate clinical expertise with a deep understanding of cellular immunotherapy mechanisms and burgeoning technologies such as CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T lymphocyte) cell therapy. These scientific advancements center foremost on improving outcomes for her patients with central nervous system tumors and all those impacted by neurologic complications of cancer.

As a leader in translational research, Dr. Thomas recently secured a $12 million award to spearhead CAR-T cell therapy innovation for glioblastoma brain tumors, working with her team to revolutionize treatment possibilities and outcomes for patients. She brings more than a decade of experience serving as principal investigator on several NIH funded research programs and trials including a study that established the new standard of care for using checkpoint inhibitor immune therapy for melanoma brain metastasis. Her dedication to advancing medical knowledge is grounded in providing hope to families and bringing her diverse lived experience and scientific accomplishments to bear in the fight against cancer.

Beyond research, Dr. Thomas is nationally recognized for her excellence in medical education, for her role in shaping the next generation of healthcare professionals in her tenure as Fellowship Program Director of Neuro Oncology and subsequently as Associate Dean of Diversity in Medical Education at Stanford Medicine. Her commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in medicine is evident through her advocacy for health equity, striving to dismantle systemic barriers and ensure equitable access to care for all patients.

Dr. Thomas continues to lead in education program development, principally via a transformative $25 million gift fueling the REACH initiative (Racial Equity to Advance Community Health). This initiative reflects Dr. Thomas’ outcome focused approach to addressing health disparities and to promoting community well-being through innovation and collaborative solutions.

Professional Summary

Education & Certifications
  • Internship: Georgetown University School of Medicine (2010) DC
  • Medical Education: Georgetown University School of Medicine (2009) DC
  • Fellowship: Stanford University School of Medicine (2014) CA
  • BA, Cornell University, Biology; Neurobiology and Behavior (2002)
  • PhD, City of Hope Graduate School of Biological Sciences, City of Hope Cancer Center, Molecular Immunology (2006)
  • Residency: Stanford University School of Medicine (2013) CA
  • Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Neurology (2014)

Honors & Awards
  • Graduating Resident Teaching Award, Stanford Neurology (July 2013)
  • Mentor of the Year, 1st Gen Mentorship Program, Stanford School of Medicine (November 2018)
  • Principal Investigator of SPARK Grant, Stanford University (2015-2018)
  • Silicon Valley Top 40 under 40, Silicon Valley Business Journal (December 2014)
  • Stanford Faculty Development Grant, Hispanic Center of Excellence (2015, 2018)

  • Member, American Academy of Neurology (2010 - Present)
  • Member, Society for Neuro Oncology (2011 - Present)
  • Member, Stanford Society of Physician Scholars (2011 - Present)
  • Board Certified, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (2014 - Present)
  • Member, American Society of Clinical Oncology (2015 - Present)

Administrative Appointments
  • Adult Neuro Oncology Fellowship Program Director, Stanford Hospital (2014 - 2021)
  • Associate Dean, Diversity in Medical Education, Stanford School of Medicine (2020 - Present)
  • Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Neurology (2017 - 2021)
  • Education Chief of Neuro Oncology, Department of Neurology (2017 - 2020)
  • Vice Chair, Diversity and Inclusion, Department of Neurology (2021 - Present)


Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.

Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.

Specializing In

Practice Locations

Brain and Spine Tumor Center at Stanford Cancer Center Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

875 Blake Wilbur Drive

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 498-6000

Make An Appointment More Clinic Information » Getting Here »

Brain and Spine Tumor Center at Stanford Neuroscience Health Center Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

213 Quarry Road

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 497-7777

Make An Appointment More Clinic Information » Getting Here »

Stanford Cancer Center Palo Alto Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

875 Blake Wilbur Drive

Palo Alto , CA 94304

(650) 498-6000

Make An Appointment More Clinic Information » Getting Here »

Neurogenetic Cancer Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, CA

Patient Ratings

(17 Ratings)

Overall Rating

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The Patients Ratings and comments are gathered from our Patient Satisfaction Survey and displayed in their entirety.

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Patient Reviews

(56 reviews)

Doctor was very kind and helpful to resolve my health challenge.
She is very knowledgeable and caring . I’m glad she is on my health team
Excellent Dr, caring and compassionate
Very helpful.
Outstanding Support, caring
We are blessed to have her as Laurie’s doctor. She is a true gift♥ï¸
She is very interested in her patients.
She seems to be an excellent physician and I hope I can participate in her clinical trial.
Five star
Very thorough and compassionate. They have a very good team.
It was a privilege to be seen by her. Her expertise and care for her patients and her work flow through her spirit.
We would highly recommend her. She is very caring, and explains everything really well, so that we can all understand
Samantha and Reena were awesome ! very knowledgeable & caring. We need everyone in healthcare to be like them! Great Teamwork Yall !!
Great doctor that really listens and responds to you as an individual.
She did a very thorough and professional job, along with a caring attitude. I was very pleased.
So happy Dr. Thomas was added to my husband's team!
Dr Thomas is an excellent doctor, very concerned & very informative in all areas. Highly recommend her.
Dr. Thomas, is great that she speaks English and Spanish, that makes the information and explanation of my problem was better understood on my part.
Outstanding service from entire staff.
Everyone went above & beyond the call of duty - Thank you.
Dr. Thomas & Dr. Patel were exceptional! Feel extremely blessed to have them as my physicians.
I was very impressed and feel very comfortable with Dr. Thomas' diagnosis and plan for next steps.
She is a very caring MD.
Dr. Thomas has helped my constant neuropathic foot pain where other doctors said nothing could be done. NOT SO with Dr. Thomas! She is outstanding & hard to equal!
I am very happy w/Dr. Thomas, she is so warm and passionate.
Dr. Thomas is one excellent doctor! She is not in a hurry, but listens, & then gives her advice and assistance in words I understand & appreciate. She is very caring and shows it! She is to be commended for her outstanding work & loving care you can feel!
Dr. Thomas is an outstanding doctor & care provider. Forthright explanations & kind & knowledgeable,.
Seeing Dr. Thomas and her staff is always an excellent experience.
Everyone is ALWAYS willing to take the time to explain everything fully and answer any questions, including silly ones.
Much kindness that I recommend it 100%.
Dr. Thomas is always willing to answer all my questions completely - even the dumb ones.
Every experience I have had with Dr. Thomas either in person, on the phone or in MyHealth has been EXCELLENT!
I really like my doctor very comfortable talking with her.
I can't say enough great things about Dr. Thomas. She is SO supportive with what I'm going through and always takes the time to make sure I understanding everything - including, or especially, the scary info.
I have extremely high confidence in Dr. Thomas and her staff.
It was good to talk to Dr. Thomas because she was willing to do something about it. She never acted like she was in a hurry, but showed genuine concern about my painful feet.
Dr. Thomas and Dr. Makar are both excellent.
I think the world of Dr. Thomas. I sometimes voice frustration with my treatment but she never takes it personally (never MEANT personally of course!) and always helps me see a different perspective which makes me feel better.
Dr. Thomas and staff are extraordinary.
Can't say enough wonderful things about Dr. Thomas. I have been somewhat snappy with her out of frustration, but she ALWAYS makes me feel better. She never makes me feel bad about not being 100%.
Dr. Thomas is wonderful! Kind, compassionate, understanding, smart... I highly recommend her to others!
Excellent, excellent, excellent!!
I have recommended Stanford.
Having a cancer diagnosis has been one of the absolutely most difficult experience of my life. Dr. Thomas and her excellent staff have done everything to make it as absolute best as possible.
Dr. Thomas had to provide me with news that was not incredibly positive. She was very kind & concerned w/my reaction & ?'s. Truly appreciated this!
I can barely explain how wonderful it is to be in Dr. Thomas' care. She inspired such confidence.
Dr. Thomas and her staff has made an extremely frightening experience manageable by her kind and caring attitude, excellent knowledge and positive demeanor.
Great experience; looking forward to next appointment.
It's all good & more.
Excellent experience!
All good.
Good follow-up via my health.
I would and am all ready recommending Stanford Cancer Clinic to all my friends, clients & family members.
Dr. Thomas was very easy to talk with. Felt completely at ease with her. Felt we understood each other.

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